The brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB), Halyomorpha halys, has been detected in California. Wherever BMSB takes up residence, it causes severe crop and garden losses and becomes a nuisance to people. The ability of BMSB to hitchhike in vehicles and planes has allowed it to spread rapidly to new areas. Since it was introduced to the United States from Asia in the 1990s, BMSB has become established in the mid-Atlantic States as well as in Portland, Ore., and Los Angeles.
How to identify BMSB
Impact of BMSB on crops and people
CROP DAMAGE: BMSB may reach very high numbers, and since one bug can feed on many fruit, losses can be severe. Adults and nymphs suck juices from fruit and seeds, creating pockmarks and distortions that make fruit and vegetables unmarketable. Damaged flesh under the skin turns hard and pithy. BMSB damages fruits (e.g., apple, pear, citrus, stone fruits, and fig), berries, grapes, legumes, vegetables, and shade trees.
NUISANCE TO PEOPLE: BMSB seeks winter shelter, and large numbers may congregate on outside walls or invade homes by entering through small openings. It is also a pest in home gardens. These insects stink when disturbed.
How it spreads
BMSB travels long distances by hitching rides in vehicles or as stowaways when furniture or other articles are moved, often during winter months. As a result, most new infestations are found in urban areas.
Report any sightings
If you find a stink bug that you suspect might be a BMSB, place it in a container and carefully note where and when you collected it. Take the sealed container to your county agricultural commissioner or local UC Cooperative Extension office.
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